The Magnificent Mekong Day 8

After breakfast we boarded a sampan boat. A sampan was a wooden boat that took us to Cái Bè Village and along the Mekong Delta. Boats were the main form of transportation in this region.

Looking back at our riverboat.

We visited a local family where we tried various locally grown fruits with some tea. We had rambutan, watermelon, mangos, pomelo and jackfruit.

We also walked around their property.

The kitchen. Most homes do not have refrigerators.

Our next stop was to visit a pop rice factory where we saw the production of rice paper, coconut candy and pop rice sweets and savory snacks!

The workers demonstrated for us how whole grains of rice with their husks were put into a large pot that had black sand from the Mekong River. It was poured over the fire. The first video below showed the rice popping!

They sifted out the black sand and a second time to remove the rice husks. Then the crispy rice was put into another wok-shaped pot and mixed with a syrup of sugar and water. This video shows the mixing to make a savory crispy rice treat.

This last video showed adding the popped rice to the mixture.

Then they poured the rice mixture into the frame, press it and let it cool.

We tried the savory crispy rice treat and the sweet rice treat and both were delicious!

Our group did a shot of banana wine. It was strong!

They also had snake wine that you could try. The bottle had dead snakes in it! A few of our group members did try it but none of them liked it.

Snake wine

The Vietnamese coconut candy was very popular in Vietnam. It was the most popular candy.

A worker was making rice papers. She showed us the process and the pictures below illustrate the steps.

After our morning excursions, our riverboat left Cái Bè and we were headed to Sa Déc. As we were cruising along we watched the sights along the river.

This afternoon we visited the Sa Déc open air market that was incredibly busy. Click on the slide show to see some of the unusual and interesting items that were being sold at the market!

We also saw Marguerite Duras’ lover’s home, Mr. Huynh Thuy Le. Marguerite, a French writer, wrote an autobiographical novel called The Lover. Only the outside of the home was available because the inside of the home is in disrepair. They had an affair but his family didn’t approve of it and his family forced him to marry a Chinese woman but we were told he never stopped loving Marguerite.

We cruised along the Mekong river. We saw homes along the river and some were pretty modern looking and others were barely standing.

Before dinner Captain Hiep invited all of us to the lounge for a toast to welcome us on board. Besides the captain, the hotel manager, our program directors, the head housekeeper, maître d’ and the executive chef were introduced. We found everyone to be so kind and helpful.

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